Defamation Damages

In a defamation per se action, anyone who causes or participates in the publication of defamatory per se statements is potentially liable. Damages are presumed and the plaintiff need not plead or prove actual damage to reputation to recover damages. The public policy that underlies presumed damages in defamation per se action is that courts believe it may be impossible to present evidence to support an award of compensatory damages for actual harm caused by an injury to reputation. Illinois courts allows recovery for monetary or economic loss, mental suffering, and consequent bodily harm, public opprobrium, damage to community standing, embarrassment or humiliation, and injury to professional and personal reputations.

If a statement is per quod defamatory, meaning extrinsic evidence beyond the statement itself must be used to prove the statement is about the plaintiff, then unlike in a defamation per se action, the per quod plaintiff is not entitled to a presumption of injury to reputation, and he or she must plead and prove that he or she was actually damaged monetarily. General damage claims for injury to a person’s health, or emotional distress cannot be recovered in a defamation per quod action.

Some defamation claims warrant a punitive damage award, e.g., when the plaintiff proffers evidence of actual malice. “Actual malice” means the defendant made the defamatory statement knowing the statement is false, or with reckless disregard for truth or falsity.

Our more in depth discussion of actual malice in defamation cases is here.

The attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle have over thirty years of experience defending and prosecuting defamation, slander libel and cyber smear lawsuits. We are knowledgeable regarding the changes and complexities of this evolving area of the law. We are committed to fighting for our clients' rights in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. Conveniently located in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois, we have successfully litigated non-compete and trade secret and covenant not to compete cases for clients all over the Chicago area. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you can contact us online or give us a call at 630-333-0333.

Client Reviews
I was referred to Peter Lubin from someone in the car business to handle a law suit. From the moment I made the appointment Peter and his staff were outstanding. This wasn't an easy case, most lawyers had turned me down. However, Peter took the time to meet with me and review everything. He took on the case, and constantly communicated with me about updates and case information. We beat this non-compete agreement case in record time. I would use him again and recommend him to my closest family and friends. 5 stars is not enough to thank him for his service. Sebastian R.
I worked on two occasions with Peter Lubin and his staff. They took their time with me and discussed each and every item in detail. The group makes you feel like you are part of the family and not just another hourly charge. I recommend Peter to anyone who asks me for a referral. If you are looking for a top notch attorney at a reasonable rate, look no further than Lubin Austermuehle. Kurt A.
Excellent law firm. My case was a complicated arbitration dispute from another state. Was handled with utmost professionalism and decency. Mr. Peter Lubin was able to successfully resolve the case on my behalf and got me a very favorable settlement. Would recommend to anyone looking for a serious law firm. Great staff and great lawyers! Albey L.
I have known Peter Lubin for over 30 years. He has represented me on occasion with sound legal advice. He is a shrewd and tough negotiator leading to positive outcomes and averting prolonged legal hassles in court. He comes from a family with a legal pedigree and deep roots in Chicago's top legal community. You want him on your case. You need him on your opponents case. He won't stop fighting until he wins. Christopher G.
Peter was really nice and helpful when I came to him with an initial question about a non-compete. Would definitely reach out again, recommended to everyone. Johannes B.